Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Learning About Dialect

I was looking up Pittsburgh English yesterday and learned some stuff about my dialect (okay, I don't have a complete Pittsburgh dialect, I don't use "yinz" and I don't have many of the aspects of the typical accent) that is very interesting.

In south-western Pennsylvania, we call thorn bushes "jaggers."  I've always wondered why I've never seen "jaggers" used in books or cinema and now I know why.  It's a local term.  I didn't know that until yesterday.

To me, shopping carts are "buggies."  Yeah, like a horse and buggy, but...well...not.  Again, until yesterday I didn't know it was a regional term.

Then there are gumbands, the action of "redding up," and gobs.  We drink from spickets.  We neb.  We eat hoagies and dippy eggs.

The coolest one that I noticed is that when I say the word "milk," the "l" sounds more like a "w" most of the time.  How I managed to say it like that and not notice until yesterday astounds me.

What regional terms do you know about that you use?


  1. I've lived in Montana and the west coast and now the Gulf coast. It's fascinating to hear the differences between regions. My own dialect is so eclectic people can't figure out where I'm from lol.
    One time my son got into an argument with a cashier about what shopping carts are called. They call them buggies down here but we always called them carts.

    1. Ah, that's right, "buggies" is used outside of my area too, just not everywhere. Yeah, I can imagine that you have a dialect of you very own. Cool.

  2. Isn't it weird how sometimes we don't even realise that the words we use are slang? I loved teaching Australian dialect to the international students who stay on res at my university these past two years. But one phrase I use that's specific to my home region is 'Moe oysters' (Moe pronounced mo-wee). Moe is another town in my region that's considered to be of pretty low socio-economic status with a bunch of not very nice people for residents. I don't know about elsewhere in the world, but in Australia we often cut dim sims in half and cook them on the barbecue. In my home region, cooking dim sims on the barbecue like that is called making Moe oysters (the joke being that people in Moe aren't classy enough for actual oysters :P ).

    1. I had to look up what "dim sims" are. Huh, that's an interesting use of slang.